The Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Gaza
Sunday, July 24, 2011

Israeli belligerent occupying forces have committed another war crime
against Palestinian civilians late yesterday night, when an Israeli F-16
fighter jet attacked an apartment building in a highly populated area in
Gaza City, killing 15 Palestinian civilians, including 9 children. Most of
the more than 70 wounded were women and children. According to information
obtained by PCHR, among those killed were two women and their five children,
a father and his child, and Sheikh Salah Shehada, his wife, daughter and
bodyguard. Statements made by the Israeli occupying forces, asserted that
the purpose of the attack was the assassination of Hamas leader, Sheikh
Salah Mustafa Shehada, 49, from Beit Hanoun.

At approximately 23:55 on Monday, 22 July 2002, an Israeli F-16 fighter jet
launched a missile at a 150-square-meter, two-story apartment building
located in the densely populated al-Daraj neighborhood in Gaza city. Sheikh
Salah Shehada, who is wanted by the Israeli occupying forces, and his family
were living on the upper floor of the building. The missile directly hit the
apartment building, totally destroying it and one other house. Four other
homes sustained serious damage. Fifteen Palestinian civilians, including 9
children, the youngest of whom was only 2-months-old, were killed. Two of
the wounded are in a critical condition.

Those killed were:

- Iman Hassan Matar, 27, killed together with her 3 children:
- Ra’ed Matar, 1½ ;
- Mohammed Ra’ed Matar, 4;
- Diana Ra’ed Matar, 5;
- Muna Fahmi al-Hweiti, 30, killed together with her 2 children:
- Subhi Mahmoud al-Hweiti, 4½ ;
- Mohammed Mahmoud al-Hweiti, 6;
- Diana Rami Matar, 2 months;
- Alaa’ Mohammed Matar, 11;
- Mohammed Mahmoud al-Shawa, 40, killed together with his child:
- Ahmed Mohammed al-Shawa, 4; and
- Sheikh Salah Mustafa Shehada, 49;
- Leila Safira, 45, his wife;
- Iman Salah Shehada, 15, his daughter; and
- Zaher Nassar, 37, his bodyguard.

This was the second time in one week that the Israeli occupying forces have
used F-16 fighter jets to attack homes in highly populated areas in the Gaza
Strip, in a bid to assassinate individual Palestinian activists. The Israeli
forces have stepped up the excessive and disproportionate use of force once
again. These latest attacks have set a grave precedent. On 14 July 2002, an
Israeli F-16 fighter jet attacked a 3-story house in Khan Yunis, in an
attempt to assassinate one of its residents wanted by the Israeli occupying
forces. He survived the assassination attempt but the house was destroyed.

PCHR once again expresses its grave concern about Israel's ongoing and
escalating violations of international human rights and humanitarian law
against Palestinian civilians, including war crimes. PCHR considers that the
failure of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to
take concrete steps to stop these crimes serves only to encourage Israel and
its occupying forces to commit more war crimes and other violations against
Palestinian civilians and their property. The cover provided for Israel by
the USA, the US deliberate obstruction of the enforcement of the
international humanitarian law, the conspiracy of silence by European
countries towards war crimes committed against Palestinian civilians, have
all effectively put Israel above international law, allowing it to act with
total impunity. PCHR reminds the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth
Geneva Convention of:

Their obligation under Article 1 of the Convention to ensure respect for the
convention in all circumstances; and
Their obligation under Article 146 of the Convention to search for and to
prosecute those responsible for grave breaches, namely war crimes, of the